One World Adoption Services
Excellent caseworker. Not so great agency.
We signed onto One World's Bulgaria program very quickly in February of 2013 (as they worked with the same Bulgarian partner we already had a contract with) after our original agency went bankrupt overnight. Our caseworker Allison was excellent throughout the entire process. She was professional, would respond rapidly to my inquiries and was knowledgeable about the in-country process. After a tramautic experience with the unexpected closure of our first agency things went beautifully through our referral, our first trip to Bulgaria, all the way until just after we arrived in Bulgaria on our second visit and picked up my daughter...in late June of 2014.
When a massive error came up while we were at the embassy with my daughter trying to obtain her visa our Bulgarian attorney was unable to contact the agency at all forcing us to have to leave the embassy and figure the issue out for ourselves in hopes of making it back before they closed for business for the day. When I too, tried to contact them (in our worst hour of need) we couldn't reach them. At all.
The Bulgarian lawyer and I were able to figure out the problem after 5 hours and just made it back in time. However I now had a tired, hungry, chicken-pox laden 2-year old along for the ride in the 90-degree heat. Not fun. Not fun at all.
The agency closed suddenly 36 hours later.
After the agency closed the caseworker was able to contact me and give me instructions on how to submit our postplacement reports to Bulgaria on our own (very thankful for her information). But we didn't get this information until after we arrived home and it was an incredibly stressful few days treading the waters of adoption uncertainty in a foreign country. The Bulgarian NGO was great and did everything they could to ease our minds (even though they had no further information). When the dust settled the agency never refunded our postplacement "deposits." Goodness knows where they went. Prior to closing for good we received an e-mail with an explanation from the agency as to why they closed. While I am a firm believer that their are two sides to any story I some of the explanation seemed quite far-fetched to me.
Our family was exceptionally lucky that we did not encounter the ethical and trafficking concerns that were reported in the agency's other countries. Also feel exceptionally grateful that we were as far along in the process as we were when they closed (though I was freaked out at the time).
I would advise against using the agency but they are out of business now, so that is pointless. I would support using our caseworker Allison. She was awesome.
Too late but...
My husband and I were part of one world's domestic program. We had a failed match last year with the agency.
Prior to signing, we were told that there was a good chance we could be placed and finalized by the end of 2013. After being matched we paid the fees, only to have the match fall through. We were told by Jessica Niko we would be priority to rematch after this. We were still waiting when they closed June 2014. They filed bankruptcy this month, and we have most likely lost the full program fees we have paid.
Bankruptcy filing lists them as having $6k in their bank account. With the number of times they had advertised looking for new families this year, I am doubting they were trying to match us. Our match would not have generated more cash for them, as we had paid in full.
I know I'm too late with this review. There's lots of other incidents through the last year that make me question the ethics of those working for one world, and Susan Manning (also goes by Susan Secor and Susan Vitolo). If you Google Susan Secor, you will find postings of similar stories to one world through other agencies.
One World- NO ethics, no shame.
One World Adoption agency actually followed a family's blog to find out adoption information about an available child and used the information to help another family (one using them for adoption) adopt that child out from under them. They are all about money and not about families or children. The family was heartbroken and so were the children. When they were confronted they merely replied "We didnt break the law". I guess they didnt but you would like to think that people in this "business" put families first not their bottom line. Unethical people.
OWAS happy family
I have read the previous reviews and while I have no experience with the Congo program, I am pleased to share with you the experience I do have.
OWAS facilitated the adoption of our son in 2008 from Guatemala. The staff was compassionate, responsive and truthful, even when the truth they had to share was not what we wanted to hear. Did we have hard times? Yes. Did we get angry, frustrated, feel helpless, second guess our choice in agencies, feel like we were "in the dark" some of the time? Yes. But the truth is, no matter who you are or what agency you choose, adoption is a process of faith. Think about how you feel when you take your car in for serivce or your pet in for grooming or even have someone come in to service something in your home. It can be uncomfortable to give up control of your "stuff" even to receive a needed service. Take that feeling and multiply it by 10,000 then apply it to adoption. It is super hard to give up control of something so personal as your child and that is what you have to do. It truly is a leap of faith. You have to put your faith in people in other governments you will never see. You will never be able to make them see your angst, your fears, your almost unbearable desire to bring home your child. That feeling can be overwhelming at times and its natural to direct the anger about your helplessness to the people you can see and talk to. But, that doesnt make those people the enemy. Do your research, decide what is important to you, read reviews and talk to people. Do your homework on the agency, the process and the country then take that leap of faith.
OWAS was there for us. They are a professional, knowledgeable, compassionate, ethical agency and I would recommend them and use them again.
We brought home our ten month old son from the DRC last year with the help of One World Adoptions. We couldn't have asked for a better agency to work with. They answered all of our questions and needs promptly and the communication between the agency and the Congo shows how efficiently everyone works. The staff at the orphanage and the staff that works with you once you arrive in country couldn't be any better. There is nothing I can say about the agency except good things - they brought us the most joy in the world (our son). Adoption is a long hard road and they are there for you every step of the way.
Based on their Congo program, I would NEVER, EVER recommend One World to ANYONE. I know several (probably over 20) families who left One World to go to another agency due to ethical issues. There were children being kidnapped from the orphanage, children being told to lie about their ages (to appear younger than they were) and other lies being told to parents.
We left before we invested too much money, but I strongly advise anyone who hasn't signed on yet to do some serious research about this agency before giving them ANY money. They are not in this for the sake of the kids....
I just read where someone mentioned that anonymous posts should not be considered credible. The reason I didn't sign mine was out of fear of being threatened with lawsuit, as many One World families have been after giving negative reviews. However, since I do agree that a few of the reviews on here seem extremely suspect, and in the interest of disclosure, my name is Julie Spencer.
I will start by saying that I was with One World only a very short time. I was pleased with their website and after talking to one of their case workers, I signed on with their Congo program. A month or so later, I met someone who had also adopted from Congo, and she excitedly asked me what agency I was with. When I told her that we were working with One World, her face fell and she said "Oh honey, NO! Have you really looked into them?" She went on to describe her horror story With One World. She also told me about a few other families that completed their adoptions at the same time as her that had their own horror stories (child trafficking, abuse, etc.) I had already invested money so I didn't want to leave, but I started digging anyway.
I was invited onto the Congo Adoptive Families forum on Facebook and asked for references. The first email I got was titled "RUN!" I had OVER TWENTY families contact me with their stories, ALL negative except for one (and that lady was only halfway through the process). Many children who came home and once they learned English, began talking about their lives in Congo and how they had loving parents and a home and plenty of food. Birth parents that were not made aware of what adoption really means and were told that their child would receive an American education and then come back to them. Or that the adoptive parents would send them money. OWAS has a policy that requires the adoptive parent to give their contact info to the birth parents. Several people told me that they had been contacted by the birth parents asking for money. Some people detailed the Director, Susan Manning's poor communication or withholding of funds that OWAS was legally and contractually obligated to pay back to the adoptive parents. Children that were abused while in the One World orphanage by One World staff. I heard about 5 or 6 other stories of people who didn't have first-hand experience, and while they were scary stories, I took those with a grain of salt since it wasn't their story to tell and could have been embellished.
So after "breaking up" with One World and starting with a new agency, I continue to hear horror stories. A few families have gotten all the way through the process and then had their child taken from the orphanage--which is kidnapping (and the staff allowed it, and the director's only response was to immediately offer another referral and say sorry it didn't work out!) Every story I hear makes me SO glad that I left. I want to give a home to one of the 4.7 million orphans in that country who truly needs a home, not one who has been taken from their loving family.
Again, I don't have much of a personal account to give (thank God), but after hearing from dozens of families who have worked with them and knowing their awful reputation, and then reading through these responses, it's obvious that some have been manufactured by OWAS staff. So I felt compelled to shed some truth.
DRC Adoption 2012/2013
We used OWAS for our third African adoption. We had a longer wait then we initially expected with some issues surrounding referral loss, however, after the restructure of the program in late summer of 2012, we had a flawless process and were very pleased. Keep in mind this is a Non-Hague pilot program in the early stages. If I based my rating on the service I received after the restructure I would give 5 stars (awesome rating). Susan Manning was very knowledgeable, and responsive with frequent communication. The process was very efficient and I have no complaints. The in-country staff in DRC is excellent!! The orphanage associated with OWAS is very good (healthy children-very good care).
Would recommend OWAS DRC program!
I'd run. Corruption with a Capital C in The Congo!
Here is a story from someone I don't know, but a story that must be heard: http://delightedinthelord.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/what-happened/ -- go read. Go and ask her questions. **please do not be blind and bring home children who DO NOT NEED A FAMILY, children who were sold or trafficked. It is WRONG. **
Let me be clear that I did not adopt from OWAS, but I personally know 2 families who have.
Both families had horrible, horrible experiences. Why does OWAS keep asking for money? They ask and ask and ask for money. Another problem is the gag-clause in the contract. Why is it there? To keep families from speaking up about the unethical practices of OWAS.
One of the families received a referral for a child that another family received a referral for (yes, at the same time) -- BOTH were paying "orphanage fees" for this child. This same family was horrified when they learned (from their adopted child) that they only received one small meal each day. The orphanage fee was OUTRAGEOUS -- especially considering the child wasn't being taken care of. OWAS continued to ask for more money from these families until one family got tired of it and decided to GO BRING THEIR CHILD HOME without any clearance from OWAS. And that's what they did. And if they hadn't, OWAS would probably still be milking them for money.